Dealing with bullying and harassment

‘Alarming levels of bullying and harassment … exist in the higher education (HE) sector.’ (Unison, 2013:8)

Equality Act 2010

Under the Act, the following nine characteristics are protected from discrimination at work and in society generally:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnerships
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion and/or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

The public sector duty

The Public sector duty is designed to:
. Eliminate unlawful discrimination.
. Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t.
. Foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t.

‘72% of BAME staff are ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ subject to bullying and harassment from managers and were ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ subject to cultural insensitivity.’ (UCU, 2012:1-2)


Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for another individual.
(This relates to a person’s characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010.)


Bullying can be defined as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour which intentionally or unintentionally undermines, humiliates, denigrates or injures the recipient. Bullying does not need to be deliberate; someone may demonstrate bullying behaviour, which falls within the above definition, without intending to.
(This is independent of The Equality Act 2010)

Community responsibility

Any member of staff or any student who witnesses an incident that they believe to be the harassment or bullying of another member of staff or student should report the incident in confidence to their line manager/course leader/head of school or member of the Human Resources Dept.

Adapted from ‘Inclusive Working’ workshop (UCA Farnham 5.3.2020) by Joe McCarron, UCA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Manager


UCU (2012) ‘The experiences of black and minority ethnic staff in further and higher education’ at:  (accessed 1.6.20)

Unison (2013) Tackling bullying at work  at: (accessed 1.6.20)

Photo by David Taffet on Unsplash

This entry was posted in bullying and harassment, Inclusivity, mental health. Bookmark the permalink.

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